Now Playing
On Air
No Program
Now Playing

Posted: December 11, 2017

Saudi Arabia ends 35-year ban on movie theaters

Movie screens will be returning to Saudia Arabia after a 35-year absence.
Kristian Dowling/Getty Images
Movie screens will be returning to Saudia Arabia after a 35-year absence.

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A night at the movies will soon become a reality for citizens of Saudi Arabia, as the country is lifting a ban that has been in effect for more than 35 years, CNN reported Monday.

>> Read more trending news

Early next year, commercial movie theaters will be granted licenses, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture and Information said in a statement. It expects the first cinemas to open their doors in March.

"This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the Kingdom," Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad said in the statement.

The government hopes that opening movie theaters will spark economic growth and create more job opportunities, while providing Saudis with more entertainment options, CNN reported.

There are few entertainment attractions in Saudi Arabia. Many of its citizens visit neighboring countries for vacations and leisure time, CNN reported, and the Saudi government wants more of those people to spend their money at home.

The Ministry of Culture said it plans to have 300 cinemas with more than 2000 screens by 2030, CNN reported. The movies need to be subtitled in Arabic, and censorship of nudity is likely, CNN reported.

Novo Cinemas, based in the United Arab Emirates, is already considering the opportunity.

"We are absolutely studying our options to enter the Saudi market ... it's an important market," CEO Debbie Kristiansen told CNN.

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.


Win $1,000,000 with our Battle of The Brackets Challenge

The most popular local Bracket game is back for 2018. Submit your bracket and compete against your friends for a chance to win $1,000,000. 

LISTEN: Stories Behind The Songs Podcast

An intimate look at what made Nashville’s best-known song writers write their hit songs and more

Play the Checkered Flag Challenge

This is THE Game for NASCAR Fans. Pick who you think will finish in the top 10 each race and compete for weekly prizes and a trip to the 2019 Daytona 500.